Thursday, July 29, 2010


Today was our stake Lagoon day, and we decided to take the girls for their first trip to iconic Lagoon. I wasn't sure how my little scaredy-cat would handle the rides, but I suppose I didn't care that much because the first thing I did was put her on the one that scared me the most to watch her ride. I thought the ride was one that would just go around, but all of the sudden it was going up in the air and up and down so fast. Stella had a death grip on Ava and a look of terror in her eyes. But when I went to get her she said: "More rides!"

Here is a close up of the Stella death grip:
Next were the cars and boats, which were both huge hits with the girls. I wonder if that was because they were under the grand illusion that they could actually use their steering wheels to control the ride.

Ash and I accompanied them on the carousel ride, which I know Stella liked, but my main goal was just concentrating on not getting sick as we went around and around. I think most of the time on the rides Stella didn't know what to think since this was such a new experience for her. And it wasn't until the rides were over that she was like: "Ok, that was fun--I didn't die or anything."

Then we headed over to the log ride and took them down the big slide. After that one Stella said: "I'm scared. More slide."

Then we waited in line for Puff. As soon as Stella saw it roar past her she wanted out of the line, so we left. Then she wanted to be with Ava so we went back. We had some line drama there and a big group somehow snuck ahead of us one by one, so by the time I pushed my way back to the front, Ashley was already getting on the roller coaster because this rowdy group wanted to be together and there wasn't room for all of them. I just handed Stella to her auntie and watched her terrified look as she flew by riding her first coaster. After the ride she told her auntie that she LOVED it, and came running to me looking pretty proud of herself. She was feeling so brave afterward that she went on a ride all by herself. Again, she looked really freaked out on it, but as soon as it was over she was smiling and said she had fun.

The only time she really cried was when I tried to take her on the train. She just wanted her stroller, and I made her get on it anyway. She stopped crying though as soon as she realized how fun the train was going to be.

I was totally wanting an ICEE the entire time we were there and the hot and humid day made it almost impossible for me not to fantasize about having one while we were on the train. Soon we had our ICEE break, and Stella was kind enough to share hers with me every once in a while. But she had to keep her hands on the straw at all times. After that the only ride Stella was talking about was the cars so off we went to the cars again.

Right after the cars I dropped my camera and broke the lens so that is the last of our Lagoon pictures. Ashley and I used the last of our tickets to go on a few big kid rides like the terribly scary Wild Mouse and the new roller coaster Wicked. Mom was watching both girls during that time and at one point, Ava took off and ran into the line for Wild Mouse, almost getting to the front of the line before she was caught. That was officially our signal that the day was done. We thought for sure the girls would fall asleep on the way home, but instead they just giggled about their fun day the whole way. There were still a few kiddie rides that I had wanted to take Stella on, but I think she had a pretty successful first trip to Lagoon, and she has the stamp to prove it.

Sunday, July 25, 2010


Last night I decided I wanted to have a little Pioneer Day party. It is also Riley's birthday today so we celebrated both occasions. I don't think my family has bought and shot off fireworks for at least 15 years, but now that Stella and Ava are old enough to enjoy them I thought we should put on a little show. I have to admit, I was certainly excited for them. During the day, Stella found the box of fireworks and insisted that I open it. We took all of them out and played Fireworks Stand. Perhaps not the best toy for a 2-year old, but she loved it.

My mom bought some bubbles for the girls and they loved it when Uncle Tyler made them bubbles. We also all hung out on the deck and told some of our most scandalous tales. Soon it was finally dark enough to get started. The girls loved the show, and would help pick out which fireworks we should set off next. My personal favorite part of lighting those fireworks is hearing the names--they are hilarious. It was a great night and we successfully exhausted both Ava and Stella (and maybe even Riley and Brent as well).

Saturday, July 24, 2010


Brent and I were thinking that life was just too easy, so we decided to remodel our basement. Here are some pics of the early stages.

Sunday, July 11, 2010


Stella got a gift card to Toys "R" Us for her birthday for $3 off a purchase of $3 or more. So being the cheapo that I am, I didn't want to spend much more than $3 on our visit. After trying to tell Stella that she wasn't going to get the $50 piano or the $30 cash register, she settled for some $4 sidewalk chalk--the best toy in the entire store for that price, in my opinion.

We had a blast playing with the chalk. However, by the time I decided I had to get pictures of how cute Stella was coloring and how she had chalk on her bum, it was too dark and Stella ran away from the camera like I was trying to wash her face! So these are the few pictures I got.

We also were approached at Toys "R" Us by a girl who works for a talent agency saying that my daughter would be perfect for them. I agree of course, but apparently this agency will sign anyone as long as they pay for expensive acting classes. I know Stella could be a star, but I am not sure I am ready to compete with the parents that would do almost anything for their kids to be famous. Maybe when she gets older...if her daddy will let her. :)

Monday, July 5, 2010


It is terribly hard to believe, but it has been a whole TWENTY YEARS since I first went to Maui and stayed in a Kapalua Golf Villa. I should pause now for you to say: "Really Michelle, you can't be that old?" Yes I am. My first few trips to Hawaii were spent at this spot, playing in this pool, looking at this view. It is where I was the last time I got my husband in a swimming pool on our honeymoon six years ago. It is where less than 24 hours ago I was taking my little baby down the steps for one last swim.

Kapalua is the most magical place ever. I love it. When you drive into the resort it takes you back in time with the almost 150-year old pine trees that line the street as you drive in. I've been to lots of beautiful places, and to me this little corner of Maui is the most lovely spot of them all.

Getting to Hawaii is kind of exhausting so we didn't do a thing when we first arrived on Tuesday afternoon. We had been up since the wee hours of the morning so we just relaxed. When I woke up the next day, I walked out on our patio and saw this:

We walked down to the pool just in time to sit under the clouds. We had the pool to ourselves and Stella had a great time with her new pool toy.

Of course, no trip to the pool is complete without reading gossip magazines with Grammy.

A neighbor lady that was leaving offered to give her flower lei to Stella, so I put Hot Stuff in her most Hawaiian outfit and had a quick shoot with her. Prepare to be dazzled by her hip sunglasses--she got compliments on them EVERYWHERE we went.

The next day we headed down to the pool for more fun in the sun. I got sunburned for the first time in like 10 years--I guess I was just too distracted by having such an awesome time.

I tried to get Stella to jump into the pool like she jumps on land. However, when I asked her to bend her legs she would just lift her leg up and then wait for me to pull her into the water. It was pretty hilarious.

One of my very favorite spots in Maui is the Kaanapali shops and the restaurant Leilani's. My little tip (that I didn't follow the night we went) is that you should get there before sunset to miss the rush. However, waiting for our table gave us some time to watch the sunset. Stella for some reason was in no mood to pose for pictures properly, but we still got some good ones. After the sun went down we still had some more time, so we did a little shopping at Louis Vuitton, and Stella loved her first high class shopping experience.

The next day was the day I woke up to realize I was (oops) sunburned. So we skipped the pool and went into Lahina and walked around. I showed Stella the huge banyon tree and we had an early dinner at Cheeseburger in Paradise. Stella rates the fries at CIP the best on the island. We watched the sunset again and then called it a night.

Stella loved just hanging out in her luxury condo.

Well, Stella has been to the beach before and loved it. So we finally, on our last full day, got it together and headed down to the beach. I am not a beach person--the sand and heat don't do it for me. But I wanted Stella to enjoy the beach while she was in Hawaii. So what happens the first second she is out in the water with my mom? A GIANT wave comes out of nowhere and knocks them both down. You never get just one giant wave--it is always several--and as I am running to the shoreline to rescue my now traumatized daughter, another wave comes and knocks Stella right out of my mom's hold and my little baby starts rolling along with the sea! It was horrible! I grabbed her as quick as I could. She had sand everywhere and the tears started coming non-stop. As you can imagine, she was not interested in heading out to the ocean again and cried the whole time we tried.

Stella still thinks the ocean is beautiful and she was happy to watch grandma swim in it from the sand. But if I even offered to take her close again, she would cry: "No! I scared!" So that was our one and only short trip to the beach.

The night that we had to leave we still had a full day to enjoy so we went on a hot walking tour of Kapalua. We then headed out to the new resort that they built there. They are Ritz-Carlton condos and we as a family are still very sad about them tearing down the lovely hotel that was there before. It was a favorite spot of ours, and it still makes me mad. However, the view is still the same and as soon as Stella saw it she was all "oooohs" and "aaaahhhs." She ran around letting the wind blow on her face and posed for a few adorable pictures.

Stella is pretty much an angel most of the time, but traveling with a two year old is not always smiles and quiet thumbsucking. She had her moments, especially now that she has decided that taking off and landing in a plane is super scary. Here is a second series of "Stella: Having None of It." You will notice in the pictures though that she is basically only wearing two different outfits, so overall she was a pretty good girl. Then of course the other pictures are from her ocean disaster, and I can't blame her for the tears on that one.

Stella crying is sort of how I felt when we had to leave. I was so sad, and I hope to make it back to Hawaii soon.